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Domestic Violence in Washington

When is the use of deadly force justified? This questions has been in the news lately as incidents involving the police have galvanized public attention across the country. Recently, in Spokane, a shooting involving a passerby and two other individuals has raised this question locally. What started as an apparent domestic violence situation, now has the passerby facing criminal charges of murder.

The passerby is now in the Spokane County Jail. How did an altercation between two individuals result in murder charges for a third person? According to reports, the defendant walked outside near Altamont and Fifth when he claims he witnessed a man dragging and pushing a woman. The defendant asked the man to stop, and a confrontation between the two men followed. The other man purportedly hit the defendant in the head with a bat, and police later located the wooden bat.

After the confrontation, the man and his girlfriend walked away from the scene. According to a lieutenant with the Spokane Police Department, the defendant then retrieved a handgun from his backpack and fired a trio of shots at the other man. Two of the shots struck the other man in the back, police noted. Officials say the shooting was an unnecessary use of force and that the defendant should have called the police instead. The defendant's family, who has shown up in court to show their support, claims he would never harm another person unless it was necessary.

All too often, domestic violence charges are intertwined with homicide. Everyone involved has the right to share his or her side of the story, and relate what happened from their own experience. Unfortunately, even those with good intentions may find themselves facing arrest, assault charges or worse, if they attempt to intervene. Those who find themselves suddenly thrust into the criminal justice system can benefit from partnering with a Spokane criminal defense attorney.

Source: KXLY Spokane, "Passerby in domestic violence incident now facing murder charges," Jeff Humphrey, July 22, 2015

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